Spatial Competition Forecast

Deep diving into spatial competition in the Blue Economy

Following on from last year’s Ocean’s Future to 2050 report, the Ocean’s Future to 2050: Spatial Competition Forecast is an in-depth look at the critical issue of spatial competition and co-existence in the ocean with reference to the rapid upscaling of offshore wind developments.

Much attention is currently focussed on the ‘Blue Economy’ as being vital for the future. However, several industries, such as marine aquaculture, fisheries, shipping, offshore oil and gas, and the rapidly upscaling offshore wind sector, are all competing for the same space. One of the main challenges is the area requirements for offshore wind as governments and companies work for the transition to renewable energy. With this comes the potential for spatial competition between industries using the ocean space, and integrated planning approaches like Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) will be required to handle this.  

One of the questions the project seeks to answer is, ‘Based on a global and regional outlook, can we effectively forecast spatial competition on a level of granularity that provides novel insights for MSP?’ 

Exploring service concepts 

The project considers the potential of new MSP solutions by combining forecasts with maps, using spatial competition as a key indicator. The novelty in the concept lies in the combination of DNV’s forecasting capabilities, building on the Ocean’s Future to 2050 system dynamics model, combined with vast GIS-based data sources on industrial activity in the ocean, marine ecosystems, and ocean bathymetry. 

Collaboration between DNV Group Research & Development and BA Energy Systems is central to the project. The project activities are closely connected with a BA Energy Systems project that gathers ocean stakeholders in a series of workshops to understand the needs for co-existence and stakeholder engagement processes in offshore wind developments. 

A position paper forecasting spatial competition in key ocean basins, the Ocean’s Future to 2050: Spatial Competition Forecast, is to be published in late 2022. 

The benefits  

The project will generate new knowledge related to the space demands of ocean industries, including consequences for other ocean uses and marine ecosystems over time. Concepts for the dynamic mapping of future space requirements can allow stakeholders to explore competition scenarios for use in decision support.  

Market potential 

More than 75 countries, or around half of the world’s coastal states, currently apply MSP as an approach for managing their waters. Two factors currently stand out as shaping the future of MSP and area considerations. The first is the rapid growth in offshore wind, in that countries’ ambitions will require significant action at the policy level. With the rise in spatial competition, ocean industries and regulators are turning to co-existence as a key component in field development and MSP. The second is the growing demand for action on biodiversity. More than 100 countries have committed to supporting the goal of protecting 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030. In this context, there should be a large potential for solutions that address the risks and opportunities that arise due to the coming race for space in the Blue Economy.  

Development of offshore wind is a key part of the energy transition. It will be critical for the offshore wind sector to understand marine spatial planning processes and the trade-offs that emerge when buildout of new capacity interfaces with other ocean industries and marine ecosystems. The collaboration between GRD and BA Energy Systems has shown how mapping future spatial competition can create new insights and add value to our customers.

  • Prajeev Rasiah ,
  • VP, Regional Director Northern Europe ,
  • DNV Energy Systems